With increasing globalization of bioresource use, expanding trade in bio-based products, and transboundary environmental impacts, distinct international dimensions arise in the governance of the bioeconomy.

These international dimensions suggest that – despite bioeconomy strategies being largely national endeavours thus far – increased international cooperation and collaboration on the emerging bioeconomy is warranted.

This paper looks at the global environmental governance landscape and investigates which fora, institutions, and processes might support and strengthen the international governance of bioeconomy pathways.

The paper focuses on institutions that work in a cross-sectoral manner and is, to our knowledge, a first attempt at this exploration in the bioeconomy literature. Thus, the paper aims at increasing our understanding of how global bioeconomy pathways are governed and which venues of cooperation could play a more important role in the future.

Based on a focused literature review, stakeholder engagement and semi-structured interviews with bioeconomy experts, we observe that, while there are many institutions playing a role in global bioeconomy governance, several barriers remain. We propose that regional cooperation might be a promising way forward to address common challenges and opportunities.